© 2023 | WUWF Public Media
11000 University Parkway
Pensacola, FL 32514
850 474-2787
NPR for Florida's Great Northwest
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Lawmakers say CNAs taking more responsibility is one way to address nursing home worker shortage

 Under a bill moving through the Florida legislature CNAs could get training as Medication Aides in nursing homes.
Christina Victoria Craft
Under a bill moving through the Florida legislature CNAs could get training as Medication Aides in nursing homes.

In an effort to address the ongoing worker shortage at Florida’s nursing homes, lawmakers are looking into a plan that would let Certified Nursing Assistants get trained as medication aides. Supporters say the plan would free up nurses and create a glide path for CNAs to get more training.

 “This bill would allow licensed nurses to concentrate on higher level care by delegating routine non-narcotic medication administration under their supervision," said bill sponsor Sen. Colleen Burton (R-Lakeland)

Burton said to earn the designation, CNAs would need to get specified training and must have worked as a CNA for at least a year.

Sen. Rosalind Osgood (D-Tamarac) says she saw firsthand when her grandfather was in a nursing home how over-taxed many nurses are. She thinks the proposed change makes sense for both patients and nursing home workers.

“So this opportunity will allow our CNAs to level up. They’re already there. A lot of times they have the best relationship with the patient because they’re already doing the caregiving," Osgood said.

Sen. Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) sees the move as a chance for CNAs to advance their careers.

“I think this really gives our CNAs a glide path to become an LPN and then an RN. This is exactly what we want to do to build our workforce," Harrell said.

During a Senate hearing on the measure several groups including Leading Age Florida and the AARP signaled their support. Nobody spoke against the move during the committee meeting. A similar bill is moving forward in the House.

Follow @Regan_McCarthy

Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

Find complete bio, contact info, and more stories here.